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I believe that we eventually will find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia causing conditions. I have no clue when that will be, or what it will look like. I like to think that we will find a non-invasive solution, but as for now research money is going into drugs.
The Alzheimer’s news this week was overshadowed by anticipation of the announcement of the results of the BAN2401 trials. This is the plaque-busting drug developed by a Biogen-Eisai collaboration that we have written about in the past several Hope on the Horizon newsletters. BAN2401 recently met the goals established for phase-three testing. Few Alzheimer’s drug tests make it past phase-two, so this is one of the most highly anticipated announcements in quite some time.
If you missed previous emails, BAN2401 is a plaque-busting drug. Its development is based on the idea that if we clear the brain of this sticky protein buildup we can stop Alzheimer’s progression (amyloid hypothesis). That does make sense. Amyloid plaques, along with the misfolded tau protein known as fibrillary tangles, are hallmarks of the disease. But not everyone is convinced that the plaques and tangles are the cause. Another hypothesis is that they are simply symptoms of the real cause; eliminating them would not eliminate the process of the disease.
Part of the success that this drug has had is due, in part, to the aggressive dosage used in the trial. That worries me a bit. Many drugs fail because the side effects outweigh their benefits. Larger dosages likely lead to more severe side effects. Wouldn’t it be nice to find a non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical solution?
I am going to talk about the potential for such a cure next time. Now, last week…
If you are interested I provided links to some of the articles I read concerning the upcoming announcement of the BAN2401 trials:
July 20, 2018 | New Alzheimer’s drug trial gives researchers optimism
And the financial blogs are anticipating a big response to this news – up or down, depending.
July 23, 2018 | Medical Press
So many of the reports we have related in the last few weeks have involved mouse studies. There are disadvantages to this; most obviously, they don’t always translate well to the world of human medicine. Some of the advantages are equally obvious, like you can’t cut open a human brain to see if your test had an effect. So, experimenting on mice is at least a good start.
One of the limitations of mouse models has been that the genetic mutation carried by the mice is associated with early-onset Alzheimer’s. The great majority of cases is not this type. A program launched in 2016 is seeking to remedy that. The program, Model Organism Development and Evaluation for Late-onset AD (MODEL-AD – who comes up with this stuff?), expects to create as many as 40 new mouse models including at least 8 precise animal models of late-onset AD.
We have written about the hypertension as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and some other conditions that cause dementia (see, for example, Can We Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease?) Further confirmation of that likely connection comes this week from an investigation of the effects of five drug classes on dementia incidence. The general conclusion was that controlling blood pressure can delay dementia symptoms.
July 21, 2018 | Easy Reader News | Ryan McDonald
The Beach Cities Health District is looking for subjects for an upcoming study. As reported in Easy Reader News, BCHD is working with the authors of The Alzheimer’s Solution to investigate environmental effects on the incidence of dementia.
All of us at Best Alzheimer’s Products has long believed that healthy lifestyle choices including diet, physical and “brain” activity, and socialization, can protect against neurological conditions including Alzheimer’s disease. We first wrote about this in a February 24, 2010 blog post (https://best-alzheimers-products.com/preventing-alzheimers.html) and have since witnessed a blossoming of similar articles in both virtual and actual media. There is a variety of longitudinal studies that investigate this connection; it will be good to have another.
If you are interested in participating in this three-year study contact the District at www.bchd.org
July 23, 2018 | The New York Times | Gina Kolata
Drug company Eli Lilly is looking for just 375 people with early Alzheimer’s disease to participate in a clinical trial aimed at slowing or stopping memory loss. Trouble is, that is not as easy as the numbers might indicate. There are a variety of factors that quickly whittles down a large number of possible participants to a much more modest number who have the necessary characteristics to qualify. 37.5 M potential participants is quickly whittled down to 25,000.Not enough for the number of approved trials.
Contact Eli Lilly at http://www.trailblazer-alz.com/ if you are interested in participating in the TRAILBLAZER-ALZ Study.
June 29th, 2018 | Capital Gazette | Mary Chaput
I found this column this week; If this article is any indication, Mary Chaput has some sensible advise for care providers. I don’t know if it is a recurring piece in the Capital Gazette, but I have contacted the author. I will let you know what I find out.
July 6, 2018 | Montana Public Radio | Annie Garde
You can listen here to a recording of a radio interview with two students at Missoula’s Big Sky High School. Betta and Harry are members of the high school’s Health Occupations Students of America Club who created a project to help children who have relatives with dementia. It is worth a listen if you know young people who are trying to understand why Grandma can’t remember her name, or why Papa keeps asking when he is going home.
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